Terrorism may have been the story of year in 2001, but it far from a new phenomenon. A millennium ago, a band of fanatic Muslims terrorized both the Arab world and invading Western Crusaders, using targeted murders and threats of violence to reach their political goals. The similarities between the Assassins and al Qaeda are striking. According to Brocardus, a 14th-century German priest, "Like the devil, they transfigure themselves into angels of light, by imitating the gestures, garments, languages, customs and acts of various nations and peoples." The Assassin terrorist network recruited new members by promising them paradise if they were to die while carrying out a mission. This hour, the world's foremost authority on The Assassins traces terrorism back to its roots, one thousand years ago.
Bernard Lewis, author of "The Assassins: A Radical Sect in Islam"p;
Professor Farhad Daftary, head of academic research and publishing at the Institute of Ismaili studies in London
author of "Assassin Legends"
This program aired on December 10, 2001.